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Council OKs buying 91 vehicles for nearly $2 million

Fort Wayne City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase 91 vehicles, including 70 new vehicles for the police department.

The $1,997,835 price tag was included in the 2013 budget approved in October; there were no police cars replaced last year in an effort to save money.

Fleet Manager Larry Campbell said if the city can continue to purchase 70 police vehicles a year it can stay on a steady rotation of replacing cars at the end of their life cycle and avoid having to make large purchases of 100 vehicles or more at a time.

That is only possible, he said, because the city extended its replacement schedule last year when it did not buy any squad cars, and because cars are lasting longer.

In addition to the police vehicles, the purchase includes seven vehicles for the fire department, three for water maintenance, two each for animal control, street project management and street light operations, as well as vehicles for various other departments.

About $1.5 million of the vehicles will be purchased through Kelley Chevrolet, the others are sold by Bob Thomas Ford and O'Daniel Ford.

In a separate purchase, the council voted unanimously to purchase a street sweeper to replace one in its fleet of seven that is so old, Campbell said, that it may sell for scrap when it goes to auction.

"The vendor doesn't even want it for trade-in," he said.

The $175,000 three-wheel sweeper keeps city streets looking clean, officials said, but more importantly keeps dirt and debris out of city storm sewers.

Water mains

The council approved a $423,598 contract with All Star Construction & Excavating to replace nearly 6,000 feet of aging water mains in Waynedale. Officials said some of the cast-iron mains were installed in 1925, the others date from the late 1950s, and there have been 64 water main breaks there in recent years.